The Hope-Renewing Kindness of Strangers

A quick write-up about something that happened to me today that has left my heart brimming and my face grinning!

Picture this, if you can.  The weather is unseasonably sunny for late winter in Oregon.  My husband and I have decided to take the early morning off and play hooky, strut around downtown,  and drive up the Skinner’s Butte to sunbathe.  There’s a beautiful pink victorian style house at the base of the Butte, functioning as a lingerie and nightwear boutique, that has always caught my eye.  For years, I’ve forgotten to take a peek inside.  I thought, why not stop in for once?  It being such a nice day, and my mood being so bright.

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Once inside, I find myself waxing poetic about how lovely the fixtures are, how much I love vintage homes and vintage things.  On the topic, I strike up a conversation with the charming lady working at the front desk, with neatly combed grey hair and lovely earrings on.  We discover her parents were named Josephine and John, just like my great grandparents were named Josephine and John, just like I was named Josephine after my great grandmother.  She tells me she was an interior designer for Bath & Body Works in the 60’s, and that she designed vintage Victoria’s Secret interiors as well.  We go on a tangent then, about how much more quality products were made back in the day, and how tacky commercial products have become.

That’s when I start talking about my business  (“Well, you know, I own a vintage clothing shop online”) .  She seems interested, so I begin showing her pictures, starting with a 60’s Valentino jacket, one of my favorites in the store.  She then tells me that it looks just like a coat that her mother had, and excuses herself to go look for it upstairs.

About 3 minutes later, she comes back down, holding an absolutely gorgeous grey double-breasted coat, buttons in two rows down the front, mink fur and neckline.  It’s in plastic wrap and clearly impeccably preserved.  She begins showing it to me, the features, and how mint the fabric is.  And then came the words that made my entire day:

“I want you to have it.”

Me?  Have?!  For Real?!?

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The infamous coat, graciously modeled by my mother.

I was blown away!  She explained that the thought her mother would be happy knowing the coat went to someone so passionate about vintage, and quality clothing.

 

I thanked her many many many many many many times and I’m quite certain me and my husband ended up giving her a group hug.  Needless to say I was bouncing out of the store giddy!

 

The coat itself is union label, and worth a great deal.  I haven’t decided yet wether I am to sell it or wear it myself, as a little thank-you to the late Josephine and her extremely generous daughter.

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